“There seem to be a lot of new faces appearing at KFG,” is a common remark we hear from clients. That, of course, is true. Our little company is going through a transformation that started about three years ago when it became apparent we would need to either stop taking new clients, reduce the number of clients, or expand our staff to handle the growth. We chose the latter.
Since then we’ve worked diligently to expand our staff. This meant our company would need to “grow up” from being a “one-person show” to a team effort. It meant adapting many of the internal infrastructures and process found in larger companies.
At the beginning of 2011 KFG had a staff of four: Rick, Darla, Lindsay, and Alison. That year we added Alan Moore. Since Alan needed more autonomy and opportunity that we were offering, we amicably decided to part ways nine months later.
Sue Chesney, CFP, joined us when Alan left and provided analytical backup to Rick for several months before Sarah Swantner joined us. Most of you are probably wondering, “Who is Sue? I’ve never met a Sue at KFG.” And you would be right. Sue works for us virtually from Denver, CO. We still use Sue to support our staff planners and to train our new planners in the use of our proprietary software.
One of the greatest challenges in our transformation was replacing Darla, who left in August 2012 to move with her husband to Florida. She had been with us for seven years and was an integral part of our fabric. When it came to running the office, managing the workflow, and supporting the planning process, there wasn’t anything Darla didn’t do or didn’t know. It took us the better part of two years to deconstruct what she did and rebuild.
During that painful growing period we had a few people come and go. Kathy Arlaud was with us for a year and helped us through a technology disaster that we could not have survived without her. Lisa Rothe initially picked up a lot of Darla’s tasks and was with us for two years.
Lindsay Luper joined us upon graduating from college with a degree in accounting and has been with us for eight years. She recently expanded her duties to assume much of the operational tasks Darla performed. Lindsay works in the office one or two days a week and handles the rest of her duties virtually from her ranch south of Hot Springs. Even though she is often not physically in the office, you could never tell that by the volume and promptness of her emails.
Alison Scherr will gradually assume some more strategic operational roles. Alison has a master’s in finance, so with Nikolas taking over some of her previous tasks, her talents can now be used much more effectively improving workflow and assessing new software and processes. In the seven years she’s been with us, there almost isn’t a job Alison hasn’t done for KFG. She’s become an invaluable part of our team as the “go to” person.
Sarah Swantner, CFP, joined us in February 2012, moving with her husband from Boise, ID. Sarah has since grown into a top-notch planner, having a keen eye for details, data, and analysis. Further, she has endeared herself to our clients as a capable, caring, and insightful advisor. As one client put it: “She’s the type of person you just want to spill your guts to!”
Dave Jetson continues to be a valued member of the KFG team, offering financial therapy services to clients who want to improve their emotional and financial health by exploring their relationship with money. Dave currently serves on the national Financial Therapy board of directors and frequently offers local workshops that help clients explore how to live life more fully.
This year we’ve added two new team members that we are pretty excited about.
Nikolas Boyce joined us in March. Nikolas is a recent graduate from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, with a BA in Business Administration. He is currently taking the required classes to obtain his CFP designation and is learning financial planning and investments. He recently began taking over a lot of tasks from Alison, which include performance reporting, trading, running out-of-balance reports, and investment analysis.
Lilly Vaughn joined us in July, having spent almost three years working as an administrative assistant for a fee-only investment advisory firm in Washington State. She was familiar with much of our software programs and TD Ameritrade, which meant she hit the ground running and didn’t require an extensive amount of training. In just three months, Lilly has won the respect of both her team members and clients for her efficiency and courtesy.
Even with our great new additions, we are still a little short on help as we continue to grow. Our growth comes mostly by word of mouth from satisfied clients like you. We continuously look for opportunities to outsource tasks in order to free current staff to focus on serving clients directly. We are looking to add another financial planner, with the intention of giving Rick a little more time to focus on the critical aspects of running the firm and allowing Sarah to do more strategic work on our planning processes. We are also considering adding some additional administrative staff, either in-office or virtual.
We want to thank you for your trust and patronage of our company. We exist to serve you, and our goal is to give you the best client experience possible.
As we grow, please let us know of any ideas you have as to how we can serve you better!